Dakota Dust

From the silence of dust and hushed dead bogs,
stardust becomes new songs mixed with earth.
Souls stir where dust lay dumb, then spring up
from the sleeping sod as dust devils dance upon
hills where the sun in dust hammocks sleeps on.

We watch with awakening hope midst clouds of
vaunting relief — only to see it vanish again in a
billow and smother of dust. Who’s peered below
its ragged coat of snow and hail and dust, who’s
found secret treasure through night and storm?

Cowed, driven, wild birds fly blind inside dust.
Thus let us lie still till Judgment Day, our dust
intact through the long, long Night. Let Nature
reclaim whatever she gave when dust that was
us is consigned to graves. This dust that was us:

exquisitely fine, quintessence distilled from the
rarest earth, whose rootlets are fixed, and shall
arise into flower and tree. We rubbed star dust
from our eyes, dismounted — then down beside
eager dust where two hearts blended — glowing

as a point of light without end, like those white
fossils crumbling into dust once moved. This —
the price of dreaming: the wail of broken trust
when high ideals tumble into dust. Yes, South
Dakota: rains and few rains, wind and always

wind, dust and fewer rains, trees, fewer trees,
grasshoppers, warping barns on sun-cracked
land. Futility and hopelessness rode with the
dust and wind. Oh, God — take us away from
straw-white weeds, from this — Dakota dust!

. . . . .

Found poem by Susan Powers Bourne sourced
from word search ‘dust’ in Prairie Poets, 1959.

 

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